What is a root canal?

We’re continuing our blog posts learning about various dental procedures with a root canal. Many people hear the word ‘root canal’ and immediately get a little nervous. But, sometimes it is necessary as it was in this person.

Diagnosing an Infected Canine Tooth

Infected Canine Tooth
An individual recently came in with a swollen face due to an infected tooth. The upper right canine was infected. The canines are dangerous because the infection can often spread quickly, affecting other vital structures of the head and neck. This case will show how  3-D CT Scan technology was used to diagnose this situation and how a root canal was used to successfully cure this infected tooth.

At first, it was difficult to understand why this tooth (blue arrow) died and became infected. It had never even had a cavity and it looked normal on a 2-D X-Ray! It was discovered that this person had upper and lower jaw repositioning surgery over 30 years ago. Sometimes this surgery can accidentally damage the nerves of the teeth. In this case, it resulted in the canine tooth dying, but it took over 30 years for this particular tooth to become infected.

A CT image was taken to confirm that this tooth was indeed the source of the infection. The CT clearly shows the area of infection at the tip of the canine root (red arrows).

Root Canal Before and After

Root canal hole and tooth colored filling
A small hole is made in the tooth to access the nerve canal. The inside of the tooth is cleaned out and sterilized. It is then filled with a material to seal off the inside of the root so bacteria can no longer live there.

The hole is then filled in with a tooth colored bonding so that you can’t even tell the procedure was ever done!

Final Root Canal X-Ray

Final root canal x-ray
This final x-ray shows what the root canal filling looks like in the nerve canal (long white stripe).

We Offer Sedation Dentistry

Our staff and dentists at Mint Hill Dentistry will find the root of the problem and talk you through every step. If you are nervous about having a root canal, we also offer Sedation Dentistry. Learn more about our services and sedation dentistry.